All things Jewish-1

Before starting my journey across the various Jewish settlements in the country, it would be appropriate to recognize certain symbols and things that I would later want to photograph and which might help me be able to ascertain if a person belongs to the community or not. With roots that run deep into the faith, these symbols are not just religious markers but hold an extremely important place in the visual culture of the Jewish community through the ages. I would explain these symbols, one by one, with significant facts and details.

1.  Mezuzah

Jewish homes all over the world have a little box on the right side of the door frame.  This box is called a Mezuzah.  The source for this practice is in the Bible book of Deuteronomy chapters 6 and 11:

“Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.”

Mezuzah, a reminder of God's commandments


The meaning of the Hebrew word Mezuzah is simply “a doorpost”. The meaning of the words “Shema Israel” is “Hear Israel”.

Every time you pass through a door with a Mezuzah on it, you kiss your fingers and touch them to the Mezuzah, expressing love and respect for God and his commandments.

The scroll in the Mezozah contains verses from the Torah, and is made only from the skin of a Kosher animal.

The Mezuzah is not a good-luck charm, nor does it have any connection with the lamb’s blood placed on the doorposts in Egypt. Rather, it is a constant reminder of God’s presence and God’s commandments.

For the Mezuzah to be Kosher, it must meet the following criteria:

The Mezuzah contains a scroll, that must be hand written by a certified God fearing scribe (Sofer) with special black ink and quill on one piece of specially prepared and scored parchment.

The scroll may not contain mistakes or additions to its text. Any mistake, even one letter that was written incorrectly, would render the scroll, and the Mezuzah invalid (pasul).

The Mezuzah must be affixed to the right side doorpost on an angle.

No two letters may touch and no letter may be broken in two.


~ by mygraduationproject on February 28, 2010.

2 Responses to “All things Jewish-1”

  1. […] out the houses belonging to Jews without having to ask anyone. The metal plate was the sign that a Mezuzah had once been hung on the door frame; been kissed as the family entered their home everyday; […]

  2. Shalom-
    The Mezuzah in the picture is absolutely beautiful, inspiring, and captivates my heart. Do you happen to know where I can purchase one? Thank you.

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